North Korea fac­to­ries hum­ming with ‘Made in China’ clothes

New Straits Times - - Business / World -

DANDONG (China): Chi­nese tex­tile firms are in­creas­ingly us­ing North Korean fac­to­ries to take ad­van­tage of cheaper labour across the bor­der, said traders and busi­nesses in the bor­der city.

The clothes made in North Korea are la­belled “Made in China” and ex­ported across the world, they said.

Us­ing North Korea to pro­duce cheap clothes for sale around the globe shows that for every door that is closed by ever-tight­en­ing United Na­tions sanc­tions, an­other one may open.

The UN sanc­tions, in­tro­duced to pun­ish North Korea for its mis­sile and nu­clear pro­grammes, do not in­clude any bans on tex­tile ex­ports.

“We take or­ders from all over the world,” said one Korean-Chi­nese busi­ness­man here.

Dozens of cloth­ing agents were op­er­at­ing here, act­ing as go-be­tweens for Chi­nese cloth­ing sup­pli­ers and buy­ers from the United States, Europe, Ja­pan, South Korea, Canada and Rus­sia, said the busi­ness­man.

Tex­tiles were North Korea’s sec­ond-big­gest ex­port af­ter coal and other min­er­als last year, to­talling US$752 mil­lion (RM3.23 bil­lion), ac­cord­ing to data from the Korea Trade-In­vest­ment Pro­mo­tion Agency. To­tal ex­ports from North Korea last year rose 4.6 per cent to US$2.82 bil­lion.

The lat­est UN sanc­tions, agreed ear­lier this month, have now com­pletely banned coal ex­ports.

Its flour­ish­ing tex­tiles in­dus­try shows how im­pov­er­ished North Korea has adapted, with a lim­ited em­brace of mar­ket re­forms, to sanc­tions since 2006 when it first tested a nu­clear de­vice.

The in­dus­try also shows the ex­tent to which North Korea re­lies on China as an eco­nomic life­line, even as United States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump piles pres­sure on Bei­jing to do more to rein in its neigh­bour’s weapons pro­grammes.

Chi­nese ex­ports to North Korea rose al­most 30 per cent to US$1.67 bil­lion in the first half of the year, largely driven by tex­tile ma­te­ri­als and other tra­di­tional labour-in­ten­sive goods not in­cluded on the UN em­bargo list, said Chi­nese Cus­toms spokesman Huang Song­ping.

Chi­nese cloth­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers have been in­creas­ingly us­ing North Korean tex­tile fac­to­ries even as they re­lo­cate their own fac­to­ries off­shore, in­clud­ing to Bangladesh, Viet­nam and Cam­bo­dia. Reuters

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.